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Grateful Dead Live at Winterland Arena on 1969-10-25

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Grateful Dead Live at Winterland Arena on 1969-10-25

Topics Live concert

Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven > Turn On Your Love Light*

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Winterland Arena
Location San Francisco, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage SBD > MR > DAT > Sonic Solutions > CDR > SHN
Taped by
Transferred by Robert Jagla and David Gans


* w/Steven Stills on guitar and vocals

Edited by David Gans to cover a reel change right after "William Tell"


Reviewer: njpg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 12, 2016
Subject: -
Aah, that gorgeous White Falcon. At the time, Garcia had about the second loudest rig in the Bay Area. That rig of Stills' was louder. Freakin' Gretsch White Falcon––HOLLOW––through this humongously loud Marshall stack, I don't even know how he kept his head on his neck. I play a P90-equipped mahogany job through a 5-watt stack and I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood where my fellow old hippies thank me for playing, 'cause they can hear me a quarter mile away with the windows shut...

Anyway. So before this recording, there are a bunch of crappy AUD tapes of shows that might or might not be good if you can stand to listen, interrupting a long line of nice SBDs. I wonder what happened in that period? Certainly Garcia's rig sounds totally different from before the murky period of around September 1969 (the first autumn of my very weird life, incidentally): it's WAY brighter and crisper sounding. Did Bear put a buffer in the Gibson SG, or is this the first clear recording we have of Garcia playing a Strat?
Reviewer: speedbuggy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 24, 2014
Subject: Wow thanks for the tip
Got a tip to this on Thanks.
Wow, i'm gonna revisit this for the DS especially. I love DS's. The Lovelight is particularly romping and tight toward the end. One of my new favorites. My immediate plans are to play this DS tomorrow AM when my young-uns are getting ready for school.
Reviewer: MosEisley - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 10, 2014
Subject: Yeah, that's the stuff
'nuff said. Listen.
Reviewer: mdoss2202 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 26, 2013
Subject: wow
My god. About as good as it gets right here. Whole thing is ON.

Beautiful Dark Star, change into St. Stephen in effortless. Funky down Lovelight groove. Wonderful music all around.
Reviewer: MichaelTurner-sfs - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 18, 2013
Subject: Airplane, Too
Funny thing. I was just going through a ginormous cd wallet of live stuff by other bands, and I came across a two-disc set of the Airplane from this night - and it inspired me to check out the Archive and see if it was a double bill with the Good 'Ole Grateful Dead. And, whaddaya know.

Great Dead set, too!
Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 10, 2013
Subject: crisp sonics
DS>STEPHEN>ELEVEN is really fine.
Reviewer: Brian Vandemark - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2013
Subject: My Favorite Dark Star
I have been listening to this Dark Star on and off for 10 years or so. And I can say with certainty that it is my favorite Dark Star of all time. It might be a taste thing...I don't know. But I always come back to this one and hear deeper into it in the context of new life experience. Its like a good book that gains meaning with the wisdom of the years. Simply amazing.
Reviewer: Juncus - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 22, 2013
Subject: What a great Show
Sublime Dark Star and an illustration as why I love this era. I've started my Monday mornings at work with track one for the last three weeks and it is a slice of heaven.
Reviewer: ms42466 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 1, 2013
Subject: 5star dark star !
tops 4 sure
Reviewer: Magichord - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 11, 2013
Subject: AnotherPickyDDHead Says:1st-Rate, don't pass it up!
This one may get passed over too often here by folks measuring potential merit based on the no. of uploads. But now that you're actually reading this, just know that although you may be healthy and feel just fine, you need this exotic medicinal elixir now, today. Musical hugs go out to Steve Stills for his gospel-tinged backing vocals and well-grooved, funky guitar work on Lovelight. Those big Dark Star explorers who were so impressed with this one the 1st time out, check out 3-24-70 in Florida for a different flavor, equally amazing one.
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 24, 2012
Subject: the fantastic four -
1) Winterland
2) 1969
3) Dark Star > St. Stephen > 11 > Lovelight

Wow, this is about as Grateful Dead as it gets! The suite is faithfully rendered, with the real fireworks, for me, during Lovelight; Stills' presence adds some flavor, not a lot, but it is noticeable.
Reviewer: DireWolfDC - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 15, 2011
Subject: Jam in Dark Star= Tighten Up
Not Feelin' Groovy, but Tighten Up, at least according to this GD scholar:

Great show all the way around.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 14, 2011
Subject: not too shabby
Great Dark Star, but not much else here. 11-2 trumps the hell out of this imo...
Reviewer: mklsgl - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 9, 2011
Subject: Jam in "Dark Star"
One of my favorite versions of "Dark Star." The Jam in it, from 12:30 'til 18:00, seems to have elements of both "59th Street/Feelin' Groovy" and "Beginnings" but, of course, I could be wrong!
Reviewer: gratefulvince - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 26, 2011
Subject: Great DS
This Dark Star is so good I can't stand it. Question for Deadheads - so is the melodic jam in this DS the "Feelin' Groovy" jam?
Reviewer: ravj61 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 25, 2010
Subject: Just When You Think You Heard It All
I am fortunate to have hundreds of hours of GD digital bootlegs to enjoy. Some of the files are not necessarily clearly marked. So I go into what I subsequently learned was the 10-25-69 Winterland show. When I started listening to the Dark Star, I was struck by how pristine the recording was. But I was further struck about the really high level of improvisation with this band on this night. Every time I think "I've heard it all" with the GD, I listen to a recording like this and my mouth just falls open awestruck. As others point out, other tracks are well worth you time. Anyone interested in trading shows, please contact me at
Reviewer: Green Warbler - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 7, 2010
Subject: Monumental
Absolutely crushing! This one has outstanding sound quality, although I prefer a bit less hiss so I use treble reduction to listen & rip via Sound Studio. Dark Star moves in sinewy gyrations, Stephen is thunderous, The Eleven loops off into psychedelic never-ever land and the Lovelight is relentless. I've been going through a pile of '69ers to use for a radio broadcast in honor of Jerry this week and this is what I'm settling on for a Dark Star. Pure righteousness!
Reviewer: DoseMeister - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 14, 2009
Subject: Dark Star reaches a new level
Overall an important and very worthwhile show.

This Dark Star is unlike any before it. There's a quiet, centered energy in the midst of the chaos that foreshadows the evolution of the band's sound in the coming years.

But the "euphoric" jam sounds an awful lot like an Uncle John's tease to me. It's the UJB chords for sure. Nothing wrong with that but let's call a spade a spade.

And Jerry hardly plays on Lovelight after the 5 minute mark. He's there but it's mostly Stephen Stills.
Reviewer: video1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 19, 2009
Subject: Best show
I was at this show. Yes, I'm old. This show happened before the Live Dead album and was really a mind blower. The evening show featured the Sons of Champlain and the Jefferson Airplane. The Dead's first set was average then the Airplane played. The Dead came back with this Dark Star-Lovelight suite and had 4000 people standing, dancing in amazement. I've saw a lot of show in the '65-late70's and this was one of the two most memorable. The other was at Filmore west when Janice did Lovelight with Pigpen. Give this on 6 stars!
Reviewer: WstchBker - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 8, 2009
Subject: Why are you reading this instead of listening to it?
Oh. My. God.

New Fav. Book it. Done.

Jerry's voice is amazing. Wow. The guys actually sound young (The Eleven 6:20) on this recording. Wow. I've listened from beginning to end twice and I'm going back for a third tonight. Wow. They were on. Tight. Holy crap. 1 hour, no rest, no stop between songs, just pure GD at its best. If anybody ever asks why people were so crazy about this band, please email them a link to this recording.

1 question: And please don't take this a blasphemy. Is Stills playing on Dark Star, or is that jam at 15:00 all Jerry? It sounds like it has some CSN influence. Either way, wow.

/ I just saw St. Stephen>Eleven in Charlottesville, I’m just running through the old stuff for comparison.
// wow.
Reviewer: yonder1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 28, 2008
Subject: Yes, that's Stills
sfbuick is correct: that's Stills on "Lovelight" on guitar and backing vocals.
Reviewer: jim_starboard - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 3, 2008
Subject: Phil!
Phil's playing during the 68-71 period is so beyond anything else. His sound is amazing too.

I'd also like to comment, as someone else has mentioned about darkstar at 15 minutes. Wow. So euphoric it's true. And you can listen over and over again and then on the 20th time you'll say hmm, so and so is playing something really interesting there, that you didn't notice the first 19 times...such is always with the best of the dead's playing.

I spent so much time listening to the darkstar that it took me a couple of months to get around the eleven which is great! Phil is blasting through it like a freight train with so much melodic energy - the playing at around 4 minutes with jerry and phil crossing ascending and descending solos - just amazing. And then that part at 4:33 where jerry plays that awesome little melody and phil bounces behind it - just had me shaking my head.
Reviewer: justinrobert - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2008
Subject: nice
hey, I'm not even a deadhead, but this is a great performance. Incredible improvising skills and a nice vibe.
Reviewer: sfbuick - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 2, 2008
Subject: Vague Memory
I vaguely remember Stephen Stills playing with the Dead at Winterland way back when. This could very well have been the show. These four tunes are the Dead to me.
Reviewer: gphishmon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 8, 2008
Subject: Streaming now in the Tapers' Section
Before hearing this show, I thought most 69 Dark Stars sounded pretty much the same. This blew my mind and opened my eyes. Notice how they're already playing with the jazzy jam that would come to full fruition in the Dancin' from 5/2/70. Not a space-fest like 73, but exploratory none the less, and now I'm listening to a killer 11. Bobby's playing on this is superb - no Bobby problem here. Sound is crispy (I'll forgive the tape flip).
Reviewer: tomatoman66 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 25, 2007
Subject: fire star for sure
Even on a hard grading scale this show is amazing. Some of it isn't over the top, but some of it is. Not the highest energy show ever, but very high energy. Very clean and great jams and great recording as well. Also, best Dark Star ever by far for me- the licks written about below are incredible and i'm not much of a dark star fan, but this is just another one of those times jerry blindsides you and you're just glad to be alive. I had to go through 25 dark stars to find it when i lost it, and it is unmistakable.
Reviewer: westmichDEADfan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 25, 2007
Subject: New Deadhead
My friend turned me onto this awesome website about two years ago. I am 21 yrs old as of now, and i have always "listened" to the dead. but when i started listening to the music that is on this website, i became a deadHEAD. i saw bobby this summer at 10klf and it was one of the best moments of my life. i am really jealous of the old heads that got on the bus. this is an amazing half set, or whatever it is. what an awesome website.
Reviewer: lemon lime partridge - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 20, 2007
Subject: please listen to this show!
can't believe it took me this long to review this show, but i'm glad i waited. i've now listened to this show probably a good 50-100 times (if not more, quite literally). although i haven't heard them all, i have yet to find a dark star that i like better than the one here. around 9 minutes this dark star gets so spacey that it reminds me of the best moments of syd barrett's pink floyd - the whole song just falls apart into waves of feedback, twinkling organ, and crushing tone clusters from phil...everything is so gloriously psychedelic in a 69 dark star. the st. stephen and eleven are particulary raucous, with fantastically fuzzy guitars (maybe a product of the recording, but sounds amazing either way). and then there's the 20+ minute lovelight...which at some point features stephen stills (he is introduced by bill graham at the end). you can hear him singing during the "shine on me" backing vocals...i'm not sure that i hear his guitar, but certainly if he's on stage i imagine he's playing as well. even with the consistent 5 star ratings i feel like this show is underrated...i implore anyone reading to listen to this show with rapt attention. absolutely top 5 on the site for me.
Reviewer: ScarletRog - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2007
Subject: long time now
I got this from gans years ago and it has been the launching pad for many of my curious compadres who were bold enough to say to me "so, what's dark star all about?" just sit back and melt into this.....
my buddy ross is latest on a long line of enlightened listeners. In fact this was the last thing going through his mind as he drifted off into the great abyss of dreamland. ya ya. Try it, you'll LOVE IT.
Reviewer: Triadtropz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 13, 2006
Subject: wow
great dark star..would love to burn this one? maybe someday
Reviewer: The Tekoa Kid - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2006
Subject: OH MY......
Every once in a while.....
Reviewer: Bluerunner - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2006
Subject: Dark Star
This is one of my top three Dark Stars. Love it. Great playing and the jam from about 12/13 minn. mark forward is simply stellar.

Lovelight is a bit of fun as well. Nice show for listening and taking a mind vacation from this terminal plane to a freer space. Just watch the re-entry. World is not as free as this music.
Reviewer: wBill - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 19, 2006
Subject: From what I can remember
This concert was on the night of Daylight Savings change and we got more than an extra hour of jams.
Steven Stills on Lovelight is just a peek at what all went on that night. Stills and Crosby played unplugged during a break. Hot Tuna walked on, but I don't remember specific tunes...slightly impaired. But this night was the best part of my San Francisco pilgramage. It's just amazing that I can revisit the show on this website. Thank you internet.
Reviewer: Dub Irie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 30, 2005
Subject: Good recording and show
Truncated tape but every bit of it is good.
Reviewer: findyouself - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 24, 2005
Subject: dark star
this dark star is focused, energetic, exploratory, and an all-around pleasure to listen to. great sound.
Reviewer: 003phan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 20, 2005
Subject: Psychedelic Jazz and the empirical formula for melting your face
This is the best 69 dark star in my opinion. The boys take "off roading" to new heights in this jam, listen especially after the 15 minute mark for you will hear garcia play the most euphoric counter-melody I've ever heard. The way he mimics the improvised major 7th progression played by Weir is scary. This is psychedelic jazz 101, and may I also suggest the playing in the band from 02-15-1973 (psychedelic jazz 102).
Reviewer: hyperboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 30, 2005
Subject: Dark Star Jam!
This Dark Star jam towards the last half of the song is great. But this is a premature version of this particular progression. Check out Dick's Picks volume 2 (10/31/71, Cloumbus, OH), and there you have the best Dark Star jam ever.

ANyway, this partial show is kick ass! Great playing and superb sound quality for 1969. Thanks archive!
Reviewer: jimkrum - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 19, 2005
Subject: holy moly!
one of the best dark star jams I have ever heard. the sound quality is terrific as well.
Reviewer: bigboypeete - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 1, 2005
Subject: great stuff
top notch thats all there is to it
Reviewer: bigbeahner - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 4, 2004
This may only be a partial, but what a grate segment of a show to have. David Gans does wonders on some of these sonic solutions mixes..
Reviewer: augustus west - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 22, 2004
Subject: pure classic
This is just classic GD. Doesn't get much better.
Reviewer: dirty jev-o - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 8, 2004
Subject: perfection
yeah..this dark star is one of the greats.....quality is awesome....why is it that the quality in 69 was so superior to most of the recordings made thereafter.....did i just say thereafter? this stuff is what made the Dead the Dead!!!!
Reviewer: Jeffrey-O - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2004
Subject: WOW!!!
Beautiful Sound!!!!

I think this may be the birth of the "Beautiful/Hypnotized" Jam!!

....Listen to the DARK STAR at 12 minutes!!!
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Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 4/23/2004
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